the better my discernment

PREVIOUS: Healthy Trust (#2)




H.T. is knowing who & what can be relied on – or not. Legitimate trust comes in large part from experience, so it’s imperative for ACoAs to not jump in too easily or quickly into new situation or with new people
H.T. allows us & others to be human – with weaknesses & strengths, while having a generally favorable outlook on life

. assumes things usually work out, but able to deal with frustration, delay & loss without falling apart –  because we won’t automatically react from FoA
H.T. allows us to ‘trust the process’ of life, participating in an activity (like Recovery or learning a skill) without knowing the outcome, since we can’t predict the future, no matter how much we wish it

. takes time to develop. ‘Instant trust’ is a symptom of symbiosis
H.T. is based on being awake in every situation, evaluating what’s really going on, by having access to that gut feeling we have (the YEAH or ICK factors) when we’re emotionally clear enough to tell when someone / thing is suitable or unsuitable specifically for us, OR when they are objectively harmful, neutral or beneficial

NOTE: This is opposite to that ACoA addictive high feeling we get from being with someone whose damage fits ours hand-in-glove, someone enough like our abusive family that we’re sure we found our soul mate! 
This lala trance state means we’re in fantasy, headed for disappointment & danger, because the high is hiding our Longing for an idealized mommy, our FoA & lack of Boundaries.

Trust CHARACTERISTICS (using T.E.A.) All 3 must be prescompetenceent, to some degree, for optimum trust to exist – whether referring to personal or business relationships

1. Competence / Results / Ability

Mental: The capacity to evaluate & discriminate among various “people, places & things” to identify which are to be trusted, to what extent, & in what arenas. It’s “Reading reality truthfully in order to respond responsibly.”

Practical: The demonstrated ability to get results – a combination of practical knowledge & adaptable to circumstances, allowing a person or group to deliver on promises

2. Character / Integrity / Valuesintegrity-
Mental: When a person or group is clear about their beliefs, attitudes, feelings & perceptions, without accepting what other people project on to them. They know that self-understanding & development are important, observing how their values are expressed in every-day life

The internal agreement between their values & actions, which make them reliable & therefore trustworthy. When things don’t go well they acknowledge & explain what happened, taking responsibility for their part, & work positively to improve outcomes

3. Compassion / Concern / Benevolencedoctor
• An awareness of one’s connection to & inter-dependence with others, which inspires agreement & caring actions from others
• Based on genuine valuing & respect for others. The emotional investment in people enables them to reciprocate, not out of obligation, but from appreciation & gratitude

• The extent to which a person has the best interests of another in mind, which is not ego-driven or primarily profit-oriented
• Includes a high level of empathy, which shows up as genuine caring for & help toward a person or group

• accept us for who we are – rather than what we sound like, how we look,  or what we do or have
• affirm & encourage us in troubled times  (VS. ignore or criticize)
• appreciate our personal talents as well as accept our limitations
• balance the good they see in us against our mistakes & flaws

• confrontgood listener us directly when they need to, in a loving, sympathetic way (not shaming or being insensitive)
• listen to us with compassion, when we need to vent (not try to fix / solve our problems)
• respect our choice of friends, activities, & spirituality (neither object nor automatically agree with)

• respect our needs, opinions, habits, and beliefs – equally with their own – even if they conflict
• respect our limits & boundaries, including times when we need privacy or solitude  (not seen as a rejection)
• understand & empathize with us, within their limits

NEXT: Healthy Trust (Part 4)



needs a healthy foundation!

PREVIOUS: Healthy Trust (#2)

SITE: re. Trust issues, brief Questionnaire

TRUST (T) is valid when:
• we’re clear about the ‘rules’ of T – rather than being in fantasy
• the prerequisites for T exist – we’ve done some due-diligence
• we assess who or what does NOT warrant our T – so we don’t waste time & energy on them
• we experience a positive outcome from trusting someone (feel calmer or relieved / get the introduction we were told about / receive the money we were promised / enjoy a shared experience ….)
Faith – the trust-er believes that their chosen path is pre-ordained by a Higher Force, so whatever happens is fated & therefore welcomed. This removes a great deal of worry about what the outcome of faith-based decisions will be, whether successful & joyful or unpleasant & tragic

Delayed Reciprocity – a simple formula for creating trust is the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ which suggests that if I give you something now, I trust (hope, expect) that it will be repaid / returned, in some unspecified way at some unspecified time in the future.  In a flexible environment I can get what I need when I need it, without having to pay right away, with the assumption that I’ll return the ‘favor’ when asked. Since this arrangement creates uncertainly, trust (& obligation) play a big part.

Exposevulnerabled Vulnerability – in a trust arrangement I may well be leaving myself open for my vulnerabilities to be taken advantage of.  The threat of pay-back or feeling guilty may curb the temptation to abuse my exposed ‘soft side’. But if you do use something against me I get hurt, end up with the shorter stick, & may punish you. SO for things to work between us successfully, I need to be able to trust that you won’t make me (or yourself) suffer.

Predictability – it’s normal for people to make forecasts, trying to figure out what other people will do or what will happen, for our ourselves personally & in the world in general. We want to spot and prepare for threats, as well as make plans to achieve longer-term goals.  The point of greatest unpredictability is at 50%, so a reliable enemy is ‘safer’ than an unpredictable friend – at least we know where we are with them.  If we can surround ourselves with people we trust, then we can create a safe present and an even better future.

Value Exchange – Most of transactions in life are based on reciprocity, which works because we each Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 9.27.35 PMvalue things differently. You need food & have a skill, I have money & need a job done. Trust in value-exchange occurs when we don’t know exactly whether what we’re getting is what we asked for & expect. It means making an exchange with someone when you don’t know very much (or anything) about them, their intention or what they’re actually going to provide.  (MORE…)

RECOVERY re.UNDER-Trusting” post – here are some healthy internal responses we can develop for our own benefit, in relation those who
• ignore us: Teach the WIC that no one can make us invisible! Some can see us & some cannot – that is no reflection on us (pun intended)!  When we have a True Self we are visible to ourselves & those who have ‘eyes’, knowing that we can’t make “blind people see colors!” Everyone else is only a potential connection, but not a necessary one

• are mean to us: We can develop the ability to stand up to them when appropriate & not a danger to us, or stay away from them altogether
• have good boundaries: It’s not their job to rescue or parent us. The distress that gets triggered is from our old wounds, not their behavior. This pain needs to be owned & dealt with in Program, therapy & our spiritual practice.  And we can also learn from these healthier people to develop our own limits & self-care

NEXT: Healthy Trust #3


catching myself

PREVIOUS: Patterns of Mistrust #2


BOOK: Trust in the Balance”  Robert Bruce Shaw (re. Biz + overview)


TRUST’ comes from the German word “trost” meaning ‘consolation’, which implies feeling comfortable. In this context it’s relevant to remember that ACoAs almost never felt comforted growing up. It’s one reason we were never able to trust! And now, as adults, we don’t realize how much we still need to be comforted, so we’re ashamed when we feel vulnerable, needy & ‘feeling sorry’ for ourselves

Genuine trust is first & ultimately about being able to trust ONESELF, a quality we cultivate via our thumbsUpTrue inner Voice. As an adult, it’s trusting your own judgement, knowing from experience & mindfulness that you will get what you’ve asked for – rather than being afraid & hesitant

A major factor IS picking the right person, location, opportunity… that suits us & is do-able, staying away from those that are not.
While there’s a certain level of risk because people & life can be unpredictable, if we’re emotionally balanced, it’s possible to be confident enough to handle setbacks & disappointments

• ACoAs need & want safety above all else – even more than love – neither of which our parents provided enough of, so we believe we’re not entitled to them
• But we can’t feel safe if we can’t trust. AND we can’t trust as long as we’re flooded with Self-Hate! The Al-Anon preamble says “…..we will love you until you can love yourself”.

Healthy trust is not about who or what others are. This is hard for ACoAs to internalize because of co-dependence & S-H.  ACoAs need to find people & / or groups that are safe enough to help us heal so we can become kind to ourselves (via the Loving Parent) & trust that “I know what I know!” (via the Healthy Adult)

Assumption: ACoAs usually think of trust only in the  POSITIVE – ‘I can rely on X…… I can expect Y to…..’, which is true but only half the story, & encourages Over-Trusting
Balance: Healthy Trust also includes knowing who & what is NOT reliable. The unrealiablecharacteristics of damage are just as predictable & consistent as those of Health, but only to cause problems.

• We can trust that a specific person will continually abuse us or disappoint based on a consistent pattern of behavior (patent, ‘friend’…)
• We can trust that a specific location will usually be unsuitable or dangerous (bars, some neighborhoods….)
• We can trust that a type of event is the wrong one for us……

Once we know what to look for we can see it all around us, & depend on the outcome to be harmful or just a waste of time – without having to be hit over the head each time!

EXP: If you’re not paying attention when you go into a room & sit down on the first chair that looks comfortable – you may be shocked & maybe a little injured if it collapses & you land on your butt – because you assumed all chairs are equally well made & sturdy

🍋 Yet that’s what ACoAs often do with people & situations – we don’t pay attention or evaluate who or what we’re getting involved with.  Many times we accept friends lovers, jobs, pets, invitations, apartments …. without asking: “What do I want? Is this something I’m interested in? Does this suit my needs or fit my personality?
AND: “What is this person/place telling we about themselves?”ladder of inference

TRUST Ladder re. making INFERENCES
Thinking of trust on a vertical continuum – we can see that it takes patience & attention to develop trust in someone or something, because they have to prove themselves.
1. It’s best to only exchange trust with others – a rung at a time. Healthy people can risk offering the first rung as a token of good faith & a desire to connect
2. People always, always tell you how they expect to be treated AND how your relationship will always turn out – by how they consistently behave (MORE)

NEXT: Healthy Trust (Part 2)